Burned Book Critique

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“Happily ever after is a concept I’ll never believe in.” This is probably the most heart breaking and meaningful line in the book Burned by Ellen Hopkins. This line is spoken by the protagonist Pattyn Scarlet Von Stratten. Pattyn is a seventeen year old girl, a junior in high school, and is from an ultra- strict, patriarchal Mormon household in Nevada. Pattyn’s father is constantly battling demons after the loss of a previous family. Pattyn’s Father blames himself for his past and drowns his guilt in liquor, making him an alcoholic. One who beats Pattyn’s mother, who believes women must succumb to their husband’s actions. Her mother believes her duty is to bear as many children as possible, especially a boy to carry on the family name. But so far Pattyn’s mother has only conceived 7 girls named after famous military generals. Pattyn, being unable to take the stress of home, begins to question her role in life, especially through her father’s eyes. She knows what is going on at home is wrong, but when she tries to reach out for help, she finds the religious community defends her father, She’s named a liar by her bishop when she speaks about the abuse in hypothetical, and Pattyn (unknowingly) begins to search for outlets to get away from her home life. Eventually, she starts to experiment with dating behind her parents backs, but is caught in the desert by her drunken father. Derek, her boyfriend, leaves her for another girl, whom Pattyn get in a fight with. The fight results in broken glass and a broken nose for Derek’s new girlfriend. As punishment for the fight she is sent away from the summer to live with her Aunt Jeanette in eastern Nevada, because with her father finally expecting a son and does not need to handle the stress Pattyn creates. As Pattyn stay with her Aunt Jeanette- who tells Pattyn to call her Aunt J starts, it turns out she enjoys her stay

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